17 May 2017

Nigeria: Fake Anti-Virus Raises Nigeria's Volatility to Cyber-Attacks

Lagos and Abuja — Although the WannaCry ransomware that has been wreaking havoc has been stopped, there are indications that those who initiated the attack at the weekend could go on to alter the code and restart it all over again.

The list of African countries affected by the WannaCry ransomware includes, but is not limited to, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria and many more.

This poses a risk to Nigeria's cyber space, which is predominantly characterised by a huge volume of fake, counterfeited and unlicensed software as well as illegal downloads.

Although the 2016 data of unlicensed software usage in Nigeria has not been released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), however, it claimed that as at 2015, 80 per cent of software used in the country are unlicensed. It put the value at $232 million.

Besides, The Guardian learnt through industry sources that there has been a major increase of about 55 per cent sales and purchase of various inferior anti-virus software in the last six months in Nigeria.

In addition, the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has also alerted Nigerians to the attack, warning especially Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) and other stakeholders to be wary.

NITDA's Director-General, Dr. Isa Ali Pantanmi, in a statement explained that WannaCrypt spreads by itself between computers and does not require human interaction, stressing that it restricts access to the affected system as well as demanding for the payment of ransom.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) urged Nigerians to obtain software patch released by Microsoft in March 2017 to fix the Ransomware Virus; plan scheduled penetration tests on the networks and systems to ensure protection and availability at all times.

NCC urged subscribers who use their smartphones as substitutes to computers for Internet access to protect themselves and their devices by not opening e-mail attachments/links from unknown sources; not clicking pop-ups and applets on unknown websites and installing effective antivirus software for their mobile devices.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu has stressed the need for the country to build a resilient cyber defence to check cyber crime.

Speaking at the cyber security summit organised by the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria yesterday in Abuja, the minister noted that Nigeria loses over N127 billion to cyber crime, adding that the financial implication could be more as large number of incidents remain undetected or unreported.

He urged the participants to come up with strategies that will build better and safer cyber space for all.

Nigeria

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